From your local juice bar to multinational consumer brands, most of today’s businesses are on the internet. While great for consumers, the shift to digital commerce means more competition is the new normal of running a business today.

To stand out, brands have been working with influencers as a way to increase their brand’s awareness and popularity. With influencer marketing, businesses can leverage an influencer to promote their products to an established audience who already trusts the influencer.

However, influencer marketing isn’t new and it’s not as easy as reaching out to an influencer and saying, “Hey want free stuff in exchange for posts?” Today, influencer marketing can be expensive, it can be difficult to find creators who complement your business, and it can be challenging to ensure they deliver real results.

To help you launch a highly successful influencer marketing program, I’m going to break down how to find the right influencers for you and how to leverage influencer marketing on Facebook. My name is Varsenik Mirzoyan and I’m the Growth Marketing Lead at Insense, a tool we created to streamline influencer marketing on Facebook and other platforms.

Key takeaways
  • Not just any influencer will work for your brand
  • Understanding your audience will help you search for the right influencers
  • Facebook isn't the best place to find influencers, but it's the best place to use influencer generated creative in your ads
  • Micro-influencers will give you a better return than macro-influencers and celebrities

What makes someone an influencer?

Before beginning your search for influencers, you should have a good understanding of what a real influencer is. More importantly, you should also know what an influencer isn’t.

Simply put, an influencer is someone who influences. In other words, influencers are people whose opinions and experiences are valued by their audiences so much so that they will do (and buy) what the influencer does. This value comes from the trust and credibility that influencers developed with their audiences as the result of creating and sharing value-driven content for an extended period of time.

Here’s a few examples of what an influencer can be:

  • Industry experts
  • Thought leaders
  • Bloggers
  • Brand or company representatives
  • Lifestyle brands
  • Social media personalities

However different the positions of people can be in to be an influencer, one thing they all have in common is an established audience, of which there are two categories. The first is celebrity influencers, also called macro-influencers. These are individuals like Kylie Jenner, Cameron Dallas, and other high-profile names with millions (or tens of millions) of followers. Although any brand would love to have a celebrity influencer on its side, celebrity influencers aren’t necessarily the most effective type of influencer.

The second group is micro-influencers. These are creators who have smaller and more intimate audiences, often less than 100,000 followers or even as little as 1,000 followers. On paper, a small audience might seem like a weakness, but the benefit of a small audience is higher rates of engagement. After all, how many of Kylie Jenner’s 34.2 million Twitter followers have had actual direct interactions with her? (The answer is only 0.17%)

The bottom line: Unless raising brand awareness is the primary objective, you’ll often get a bigger return on your influencer marketing spend if you partner primarily with micro-influencers.

Benefits of Facebook influencer marketing

If you haven’t tried influencer marketing before, then it may seem like an advertising strategy with low potential. However, there are actually some notable benefits to using influencer marketing for growing a brand.

My favorite part of influencer marketing on Facebook is the cost savings from not having to produce original creatives for Facebook ads. By partnering with an influencer who is a content creator, you can often end up with unique yet relatable content at a fraction of the cost.

We all know how effective user-generated content (UGC) is for campaigns, and they’re even more effective when it’s an influencer who is producing that UGC for you. As professional content creators, influencers bring together your product or message with their own creative ideas and skills. Influencer marketing on Facebook brings the potential to deploy a marketing campaign that will really make your audience stop scrolling and take notice.

Supercharge your influencer ads
Use the power of Facebook ad automation to get more results from your influencer creatives

But before you go reaching out to influencers…

You need to understand a couple of important things before reaching out to influencers: You need to completely understand your objective with Facebook influencer marketing and you also need to have a firm understanding of your audience.

1. Set your objective for influencer marketing

First and foremost, you need to establish what you’re hoping to accomplish with influencer marketing. What you aim to achieve will guide many of the decisions you make as you find industry influencers and begin collaborating on content.

There are three common objectives with Facebook influencer marketing:

  1. Increase sales
  2. Improve brand awareness
  3. Generate unique UGC-style creatives

Ultimately, your goals will inform things like the type of influencer(s) you partner with to the kinds of content that your influencer(s) will create.

2. Determine who you’re trying to influence

In most cases, the audience you want to influence is the same as the target audience for your brand’s product or service. But this an important question to consider when you’re searching for industry influencers because the demographics of your target audience can influence how (and where) to find influencers.

Take the time to get a deep understanding of your audience. You can learn quite a lot just by viewing your own social media metrics and by using Revealbot’s guide Facebook Audience Insights. Once you have a better understanding of who you’re trying to influence, you can tailor your influencer search accordingly.

Here’s the two things you need to understand about your audience:

  1. the platforms your target audience use
  2. the influencers who create the type of content that your audience loves

How to find influencers for Facebook marketing

If micro-influencers are the “secret sauce” of influencer marketing, then the next obvious question is how do you find the right influencers for your industry and business? First you need to identify the type of influencers that can work for your brand.

Typically, people gravitate toward influencers who they view as peers, whether because they are considered to be similar physically, socially, or by some other demographic. So once you have a strong understanding of your audience, there’s a good chance those same qualities can be used to inform your search for influencers. Then you’ll have a strong enough foundation to start searching for potential influencers and through this process you’ll inevitably get a better understanding of what traits you’re looking for.

Here’s how I approach putting together a list of ideal influencers for brands I work with.

I always begin my search for influencers by looking up hashtags related to the brand’s industry on Instagram. From there, it’s easy to find the biggest accounts and people who are related to the brand’s industry and would resonate with the target audience.

Searching Instagram for fashion
Searching Instagram for "fashion"

2. Check out the influencers who promote competitors

Next I like to take advantage of the legwork my competitors have already done by searching for the product names of my biggest competitors as hashtags to see if there are influencers already posting about their product. There’s a good chance that a target audience is the same or similar to a competitor’s and oftentimes you can work with the same influencers or at the very least get an idea of the types of influencers in your industry.

3. Find and connect with industry experts

I love making connections with leaders in a brand’s industry, because that means I can start forming relationships with people who are recognized as authoritative experts who people already reference and look up to. These people could be, for example, established product reviewers, authors, speakers, etc. Sometimes these industry leaders can have a social following I can leverage, too.

3. Search all the major social platforms for micro-influencers

With multiple social platforms, it can be overwhelming to start from scratch. Luckily, many influencers have audiences (and oftentimes different audiences) on multiple social networks so I could work with one creator and still get reach on multiple platforms.

However there’s many cases where great influencers only have a strong following on one platform. So here’s a quick breakdown on how I find influencers on the biggest social platforms.

Instagram

There’s no better place to start than with a brand’s own followers. If you have an Instagram account, see who is following you. The best creators to work with are those who are already fans of your brand as they are already going to have some level of passion about your brand’s products or services.

Like I mentioned before, start searching hashtags for industry related topics. Start following the biggest accounts and soon you can take advantage of Instagram’s explore page which will automatically find popular accounts and posts related to the accounts you follow and posts you like. This strategy works best on a fresh account or an account dedicated to your brand.

Facebook

Facebook isn’t the best platform to find influencers just because of the way it works, especially after Facebook updated its algorithm which severely limited organic post reach. Most influencers have grown their following on Instagram or TikTok.

But what Facebook is great for is finding communities inside Facebook groups. There are Facebook groups for every topic and you can learn a lot about your industry and who the leaders are by joining those groups and looking at their conversations. You can even search groups for relevant keywords to find discussions on various topics, creators, or influencers in that group.

Searching Facebook Groups for fashion
Searching Facebook Groups for "fashion"

YouTube

There are two ways I find the best accounts to work with on Youtube. First, I run Google searches for something like “[niche] YouTubers”, which can show lists of the top video creators in an industry.

Then I search YouTube itself for keywords around the brand’s industry and even check out the trending page if the brand I’m working on has general appeal. The great thing about YouTube is you can easily see how many subscribers and views a YouTuber has and determine if they have the following and average view count I’m looking for.

TikTok

The popularity of TikTok has exploded in the past year and there’s never been a better time to search for influencers on the platform. On TikTok, I start my search by using the discover page, which showcases trending creators. I also search trending hashtags which show some of the latest TikTok “themes” or “memes” that creators are doing spin-offs of.

If the brand I’m working with is very niche, I will take a similar approach to Instagram and search industry related hashtags to see if there are any creators on TikTok in the industry. And don’t forget that most creators on TikTok will have accounts on other social platforms, too, like YouTube and Instagram.

4. Find influencers and creators with Insense

My team and I created Insense, which is a tool to streamline the process of finding, connecting, and partnering up with creators on influencer marketing campaigns. With Insense, you can search for creators across all four of the above social platforms in one place and get influencers to come to you.

Insense gives you unparalleled search and filtering capabilities for finding micro-influencers in any industry. Using descriptors as hashtags, you can search our entire curated database of micro-influencers, which has over 19,000 influencers and counting. Whether you’re looking for #millennials, #moms, #fashion, or some other trait, you’ll always be able to find the exact types of influencers you need on Insense.

Searching Insense for "#food"

Another way Insense can help you find the right influencers for your next Facebook marketing campaign is by submitting a brief. When you submit a brief, creators can then apply to work with you, and you can select the best creators to work with.

How to submit a brief with Insense
How to submit a brief with Insense

Once you find influencers you’re interested in working with, you can direct message them on Insense to negotiate your promotion terms, payment, and more. Our database of influencers are curated by our team which means they know how to use the platform and you're guaranteed to get a quick response to your messages.

Chat and form relationships directly in Insense
Chat and form relationships directly in Insense

Use influencer content in Facebook ads

After securing collaborations with influencers and they post about your brand’s product or services on their channels, you can download the content and use it as Facebook ad creatives (make sure you get their permission). This is the best way to leverage influencer marketing on Facebook today.

You can use the content by itself directly as a Facebook ad, or splice it in slideshows or videos, and reuse it for months or years. This content is invaluable to your brand. For more strategies on how to use influencer and user-generated content in Facebook ads, check out Revealbot’s article on Facebook ads for ecommerce and scaling Facebook ads for Black Friday.

Here's an example from Letterfolk using influencer-generated-content to promote their product:

Credit: Letterfolk

If the influencer is super recognizable to your industry, you can mention their name in your Facebook ad creatives, or better yet run an ad coming from their account. We built Insense to streamline this process, which can take influencer content and run it as an ad for your brand while coming from their profile.

How to use Insense to launch influencer ads

For more ideas on using influencer-generated-content in your Facebook ads, I recommend joining Savannah Sanchez's Facebook Group Facebook Ad Creatives Only for inspiration.

Go beyond influencer marketing with influencer partnerships

You should never approach influencer marketing as if it’s a transaction and you’re simply buying content from a creator. Because the influencers you partner with aren’t employees, nor is the content they create or share merely a product. Rather, the best influencer marketing is the product of a mutually-beneficial partnership.

The key to creating strong influencer partnerships is to build actual relationships with your influencers. After all, influencers are more likely to promote a brand when he or she has a positive emotional connection to the brand and the people behind it.

And just like in any relationship, when an influencer doesn’t feel that their efforts are being reciprocated, you’ll have a very hard time maintaining that partnership or calling on that influencer for future collaborations.

Consider how you can give back to your influencers to bring more value to those relationships. Even a little public recognition or praise can go a long way. Additionally, you could ask if there’s anything your influencer needs to make creating content around your brand easier. During each exchange, always be as authentic and respectful as possible as if you’re building a new friendship.

Here’s a few things I do to elevate my relationships with influencers:

  • Talk about things other than our marketing partnership
  • Follow them on social media and leave comments on their posts
  • Introduce them to any of my contacts I think they’d find beneficial
  • Ask for their opinions on work behind-the-scenes for the brand

With this strategy, you’re pretty much guaranteed to get your Facebook influencer marketing program off to a strong start.